I'm a big believer that the best things in life and in the kitchen are often the simplest. Like, "life's simple pleasures" is a phrase for a reason. This easy soft pretzel recipe is just one example of that. It really is the best and the absolute simplest. Soft, buttery dough topped with salt or cinnamon sugar eaten warm from the oven? I mean, come on. My kids would literally eat these soft pretzels every day if I could keep up.
I think I started making these in 2018. One of our sons asked if I could make soft pretzels - like the infamous shopping mall variety - and I accepted the challenge. I can't remember how many recipes I consulted, but the first one I made had me brush the pretzels with a baking soda and water mixture before baking. It was messy, gritty, and really just didn't do anything for me. Or for the pretzels. So I got rid of that step opting for an egg wash instead. I played with the sugar and salt ratios, added some butter to the dough.
This easy soft pretzel recipe makes 12 nice big pretzels but I have also used it to make smaller pretzels as well as pretzel buns. It is super versatile and really easy to work with.
Like I wrote above, simple is best in my opinion. I love these plain with salt and I LOVE them brushed with butter and coated in cinnamon sugar. BUT: if you want to get carried away, feel free to jazz up this easy soft pretzel recipe with add-ins, toppings, and dipping sauces. Here are some of my suggestions.
Add these to your soft pretzel dough while mixing
- chocolate chips
- poppy seeds
- vanilla bean paste
- roasted garlic
- dried fruit
- chopped olives
- diced pepperoni, cheese, and herbs (pizza pretzels!)
And what should you top these soft pretzels with?
- pretzel salt
- pearled or coarse sugar
- everything bagel seasoning
- za'atar seasoning
- dried herbs
- sesame seeds
- poppy seeds
- shredded cheese
- cinnamon sugar (after baking)
- powdered sugar (after baking)
- cocoa powder (after baking)
And finally, dipping or drizzling options:
- cheese sauce
- chocolate sauce
- any veggie dip you love
- cream cheese
So many options. You really are only limited by your imagination. I think of bagel and doughnut flavors for inspiration when coming up with these suggestions.
Here are a few step-by-step photos of this Easy Soft Pretzel Recipe
And a few pretzel rolling and shaping tips:
I write this in the recipe, but I have found over the many times I've made this recipe that having damp hands while rolling the dough into ropes really makes the process easier. Many recipes for soft pretzels will tell you to use a lightly floured surface, but this just makes everything too dry and frictionless. So I keep a small dish of water nearby and very lightly dampen my hands a few times during the process. Roll from the middle out to the ends, constantly moving your hands forward and backward as you press down lightly and move outward. Just repeat this until you have a 24 inch rope.
I know 24 inches seems like an insanely long rope, but it really needs to be that long. These rise quite a bit in the oven so if they start out too thick you will end up with buns, not pretzels. Not necessarily a bad thing just a warning.
And speaking of buns...
If you want to turn these into pretzel buns
Two options: either make a shorter rope and therefore a much tighter pretzel so you don't have gaps/holes in the baked pretzel OR just roll the pieces of dough into balls and flatten them as if you were making burger buns. I plan to do a recipe and guide just for pretzel buns but for now, just know that it really is as simple as that and I do it all the time.
This is such a simple yet versatile recipe. No matter which adventure you choose, you will end up with a soft, fluffy interior and a pleasantly chewy exterior.
And that's pretty much it. I'm not sure why it took me nearly 3 years to share this; But, alas, it is done! Let me know if you make them! xo - AnitaPrint